On behalf of our Teachers College community, I want to express our sadness and horror over yesterday’s invasion of the U.S. Capitol by riotous mobs attempting to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected administration to the next. Yesterday’s assault on the symbol of our democracy, in which four people died, was nothing less than an act of domestic terrorism.
Yesterday’s rioters did not represent who we are as a country. But the siege itself offered a sobering reminder that COVID-19 is not the only virus that has been loosed upon our land. Conspiracy theories, abuse of social and alternative media, and hateful (and frequently racist and anti-semitic) rhetoric have sown distrust in our democratic institutions and deepened “us versus them” divisions throughout our society.
Our response in the coming weeks and months to these and other myriad challenges facing our country will test not only the strength of our laws, traditions and civic institutions, but also our character as a people. In particular, restoring our civic health will require a lot of time, sustained focus, and hard work – and education can and must play a lead role.
This is where Teachers College comes in: Our teaching, research and partnerships with practitioners contribute to a smarter, healthier, more equitable, and more just multicultural society. Our work could not be more timely or essential. I believe that effective solutions to the challenges and problems facing us now will have the names of our faculty, students, and alumni on them. As educators, scholars, psychologists, health professionals, and leaders, we are more than ready to meet this moment. Let us seize it – now.
President, Teachers College